Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Five Secrets From Author Karin Kaufman

Today I bring you Karin Kaufman and her Five Secrets.  I love learning secrets, don't you? Wait until you read about which POV was her favorite to write! 

Karin writes mysteries (check out her website) and children's books. Although her mysteries are written from a Christian perspective, they don't downplay the evil we confront in this world—or the isolation Christians sometimes feel in what is a largely secular culture. But she rejects the notion that such fiction must be dark or oppressive. Because there is also goodness in this world—love, friendship, laughter, faithful dogs, piping hot cups of coffee— and it's every bit as real as the evil.

The Witch Tree, the first in her Anna Denning mystery series, was a finalist for a 2011 Grace Award. Karin lives near the foothills of the Colorado Rocky Mountains with Sophie, her crazy but lovable shelter dog.

Welcome Karin, please tell us Five Secrets we may not know about The Adventures of Geraldine Woolkins and you, but will after today!

1) I hadn’t planned on writing The Adventures of Geraldine Woolkins, and if someone had told me just one year ago that I’d write a children’s book, I never would have believed them. But Geraldine’s story came to me out of the blue last autumn, while I was trying to sleep one night (because all the best ideas come when you’re trying to sleep). Before I knew it, I’d written the entire first chapter of Geraldine’s adventures in my head. When I got up the next morning, I started work on the book. I knew I had to write it. You never know where God is going to lead you.

2) Okay, looking back, I should have known I’d write a children’s book one day, especially one also intended for adults. I still have fond memories of books I read as a child, like A. A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh and The Story about Ping by Marjorie Flack, and I wanted to capture that warm feeling, for both adults and children, and put it in my own book. I don’t care what age you are, who doesn’t want to curl up in bed with a cozy book about young forest animals? The main difference between my book and the books I read as a child is that in my book, God is front and center. He’s at the heart of it all—the Woolkins family and their world. Geraldine and her family believe in Him, as do most of the creatures they encounter.

3) I had the best time writing from a young mouse’s point of view! (Strangely, it wasn’t difficult at all. What does that say about me?) Geraldine experiences the wonder of what is for her an always brand-new world: leaves turning brilliant colors in October, the “marshmallow” world of snow in December, sledding down Acorn Hill on a piece of tree bark, even the terrifying wolves of the barren land. And that gave me a chance to imagine what it might be like for a very tiny creature to experience such things for the first time—and imagine what God the Creator was thinking when he made them all.

4) I’m thinking of writing The Further Adventures of Geraldine Woolkins, taking the Woolkins mouse family through the winter months, January to March, in their oak forest home.

5) My favorite children’s stories of all time are stories I read only as an adult, never as a child: the seven books that make up C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia.

Blurb :
Young Geraldine longs to have adventures as thrilling as those in the Book of Tales, the book her papa reads to her and her brother Button at night. More than that, she wants to be brave—a seemingly impossible task in a world where ravens throw black shadows over the earth and wolves prowl barren lands in search of their prey. But Geraldine is a mouse. The weakest of ground things. Why was she, who wants so much to be brave, created by God to be small and quivering?

The book’s ten stories follow the Woolkins family—Papa, Mama, Geraldine, and Button—from October to December, as they face their rather human trials and tribulations and Geraldine struggles to understand Very Very Big Hands, the creator of all, including ravens and wolves.
Suitable for readers of most ages. Parents will want to read the book to younger children, preferably after making them a cup of cocoa.

Buy Links:
Amazon | Kobo | B&N

Find Karin:
Website | Facebook | Twitter

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Author Spotlight ~ Joan Reeves, Part of a Boxed Set of 21 Authors

Box Sets: Win-Win for Readers & Authors
By Joan Reeves
Giveaway also, so read on!

I don’t know who the brave soul was who published the first box set, or what that set was, but the marketing genius who came up with the concept created a phenomenon. In fact, for the most part, a box set is a definite win-win for readers and authors alike.

A Win for Readers

Box sets can be short stories, novellas, or full-length novels. Box sets can be the works of a single author or of many authors.

Regardless of the box set content, it’s a win for readers. The reason is readily apparent. A reader can get a bunch of books--short, long, or a mixed bag--for a very low price. Sometimes a box set is even free! To a reader, this is like finding gold! As a reader, I take full advantage of these bargains.

Another Win for Readers

You’ll have the opportunity to read authors you may not have heard of and not have to pay a lot for the privilege. You may just discover a new favorite author or even a new genre.

A Win for Authors

Sure, there are some drawbacks to box sets for an author. What comes readily to mind is the fear that the low prices undercut an author’s income.

However, the win for the author is very real. Having your work bundled with other authors will expose your work to the other authors’ readers. You may find that readers who hadn’t read you before will read you and like how you spin a story. Voila. You’ll have created a new fan for your work.

Another Win for Authors

When you’re grouped with authors who are more into marketing and promoting than you, you’ll be forced to up your game. Change--growth--is always a good thing.

What’s equally important is you’ll meet some wonderful authors and make new friends. In the cold cruel world of publishing, that too is a good thing.

21 Books by 21 Bestselling Authors

Here are the books of Summer Fire. Just about every type of romance is shown--sweet to suspense to steamy--so readers of every sub-genre will find a story to love plus new genres to explore. There you have the win-win for all.

Gennita Low, author of Sizzle. “Sizzling passion and flying bullets.”

Stacey Mosteller, author of Just One Summer. “Good girl meets bad boy in Just One Summer.”

R.J. Lewis, author of Sinful. “She’s straight and narrow; he’s sinfully rebellious.”

Kym Grosso, author of Solstice Burn. “Love and erotic temptation in the tropics.”

Victoria Danann, author of A Season in Gemini. “A breath of fresh romance--normal and paranormal.”

L. Wilder, author of Summer Storm. “Can their love survive the storm?”

Linda Barlow, author of My Mile-High Mistake. “Can she resist his temptation at 35,000 feet?”

Teresa Gabelman, author of Rodeo Romance. “Summer + Cowboys = Sexy Fun.”

Cat Miller, author of Sun Burnt. “Sophisticated city girl’s wild ride with a cowboy.”

Mimi Barbour, author of Big Girls Don't Cry. “Why cry when no one is listening?”

Helen Scott Taylor, author of Irish Kisses. “Second chance at love in an enchanting Irish castle.”

Clarissa Wild, author of Killer. “Bitterness turns into an obsession; a stalker is born.”

Patrice Wilton, author of A Man for Hire. “She hired him for a weekend, not to find love.”

Nicole Blanchard, author of Anchor. “Guaranteed to get you wet!”

Victoria James, author of Sweet Surrender. “He wanted the sweetest surrender.”

Mona Risk, author of Husband for a Week. “Never fall in love with a fake husband.”

Lorhainne Eckhart, author of His Promise. “A love they thought would last forever.”

Danielle Jamie, author of Tan Lines and Salty Kisses. “Second chance romance sure to steam up your Ereader.”

Joan Reeves, author of Heat Lightning. “Secrets, lies, passion. Secrets can kill.”

Brandy L Rivers, author of Summer Rhythm. “Doug never could resist Chloe. Is she back for good?”

Terri Marie, author of Someone Exactly Like You. “The chase is on!”

Add Summer Fire to Your Library


Leave a comment with your email address and be entered in a random drawing for a free copy of Summer Fire: Love When It's Hot Contemporary Romance Collection. Giveaway is open until May 23 midnight. Winner will be chosen on May 24 by Random Name Picker and notified by email as well as in the Comments section of An Indie Adventure.

Joan Reeves, whose book in Summer Fire is Heat Lightning, is a bestselling author of Contemporary Romance. Available as ebooks and audiobooks, her romance novels all have the same underlying theme: “It’s never too late to live happily ever after.” Joan lives her happily ever after with her husband in the Lone Star State. Sign up for WordPlay, Joan's free email list for readers:

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Take Five With Author Phylis Caskey

Welcome to An Indie Adventure, Phylis Caskey.  Tell us, what inspired you to write your book Skinny Dipping in Cane River?

Hi Leslie, thank you for inviting me.

The story originally started as a short story about my grandfather and a secret he kept for 50 years. However, the characters became bigger than the story, and I had to pluck them out and give them a bit more space. I had a mystery outlined with no hero or heroine so I merged the two stories. It was the perfect fit. Once the two were combined, it just took off.

I have always loved living in the South so I wanted to share similar experiences with the reader. No one can define behind-the-scene small-town crazy like a native.

What were your experiences as a child that contributed to you becoming a writer?

My family never lived anywhere longer than two years and believe me, this was no picnic.

My father was a Baptist minister, so people had preconceived notions about me before I even arrived. I was constantly reinventing myself to fit in, especially in middle 

Enter imagination… no matter where you go, you can take it with you.

Since my father counseled members of his church at our home from time to time, there were several discussions behind closed doors that a child or teen could overhear. One thing stood out early on: People are not always who they appear to be, and situations are rarely simple, even the most idyllic families have issues.

Do day-to-day life experiences influence your stories?

Of course, even when sitting at the carwash the conversations are fascinating. People love to talk about themselves. Sometimes I’ll find myself writing down a conversation, the syntax and vocabulary may find a home in my next character. Our son comes home with friends, and their word choice is drastically different than mine.

Recently, someone hit my car from behind. No one was hurt, thank God, but I was shaky getting all the information together and calling the tow truck, etc. The police officer was making sure everyone was safe and all the forms were in order, but she kept telling me: accidents happen. She must have said it five times or more. I know she was trying to calm everyone, but she was having the opposite effect. She reminded me of the tooth fairy hanging around while you still have the toothache. I thought about it later. What a wonderful character. 

The police officer that kills everyone with kindness, the townspeople hide, slip and fall, wreck… anything to avoid her. But she always shines in the end, solving the mystery.

What is the first thing you do when you begin a new book?

I outline the story idea on paper. Then I decide on the characters. Once I’ve named them, I interview them and discover their motivations, goals, hopes, quirks, and backgrounds.

Once they are fully fleshed out, I drop them into the appropriate scenes. That’s where the real fun begins.

If you were a TV, film or book character, apart from one you've created, who would you be?  And why?

I have loved Jane Austen since I was in high school. So, it would have to be Eliza Bennett. She is such a strong character: wise, witty, and kind. Also, I could marry Mr. Darcy and live at Pemberley. Seriously, who wouldn’t want to live there?

Give us a brief summary of Skinny Dipping in Cane River:
Julian James returns to his hometown of Natchitoches, Louisiana with an urn under his arm––and a heart full of regrets. Around every corner are haunting memories, one in particular:

As a teenager, Julian’s worst nightmare comes true when his father supposedly commits suicide. But he never believes the stories swirling about his father and soon discovers a hidden diary with three coded messages. Sara, a clever new friend, helps him decode the first message, and his fears are confirmed. His father’s death was no accident.

Julian digs deeper, investigating clues overlooked by the local authorities. But the closer he gets to solving his father’s mysterious death, the more dangerous the game becomes––risking not only his life, but Sara’s, too.

Buy Links:

After traveling in Europe, Phylis Caskey returned to the university setting to study French and Fine Arts. Along the way, creative writing piqued her interest, but it wasn’t until her youngest child went to high school that she started writing seriously. Her love of all things Southern led to her debut novel, Skinny Dipping in Cane River, and her passion for French history contributed to her medieval series. When she isn’t writing, she is tramping the world with her husband, visiting their children, and looking up friends. She enjoys getting lost in a good movie, especially an Indie film, with a huge bucket of popcorn. She lives in Louisiana with her husband and their anthropocentric dogs.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Take Five and Meet Author Mary Hagen

Today I pleased to introduce you to Mary Hagen, whom I first met many years ago at a Colorado Romance Writers meeting.  

Welcome to An Indie Adventure, Mary.  Tell us, what inspired you to write your book  The Chase?

Years ago, I read about four women on a backpacking trip who were attacked by four men while at their campsite.  They managed to get away from the men but had to travel fifteen miles before reaching a road and getting help.  I don't remember if the men went after them, but a farmer who had given the women permission to camp on his land, found their site and knew something was wrong.  He called the police.  When the women reached the road, they got help and the men were captured. 

In my book, the women are attacked by convicts running from the police.  They managed to escape and must run for safety.  The actual incident took place in the east.  Mine occurs in a Colorado wilderness.  The women must not only escape the convicts, but they must survive a treacherous climb over a mountain pass in bad weather.

How do you use setting to further your story?

Setting is extremely important in the story.  Every obstacle is the result of mountainous territory and bad weather.  I'm an avid hiker and backpacker so my experiences play a role in the story, but with exaggerations.  I hope readers will feel the cold, the fog, the snow, and the rock slides in the story.  Some of my characters have more experience and some a stronger will to survive.  In the book, they must come to terms with their beliefs in right and wrong, and how far they will go to survive.

How do you construct your characters?

Sometimes I base my characters on people I have known.  The characteristics are woven into the fictional qualities of my characters.  I like to know what makes my character react the way she does in the story and how she deals with her reactions that are linked with her background.   I usually do a character sketch of how she looks, her size, her occupation, her personality, what makes her do what she does.  Sometimes the character may take on added traits I never considered in the sketch and surprise me in her actions. 

How is your main character completely different than you?

I have four characters in the book with one leading character.  We are as different as day and night.  The only thing we have in common is a love of hiking and backpacking.   She is from a different ethnic background, her occupation is unlike mine, and her goals are not the same as mine.  She is determined to have her way, has trouble bending to the will of others even if it may be to her advantage,  and will sacrifice love if she thinks she is right.  With this character, I learned a new set of rules for living.

Tell us something about yourself we might not expect!

This is a difficult question for me.  I considered myself a common, ordinary, middle class house wife with few exciting qualities.  My friends and family know me well, so how do I answer the question.  I guess I would say most of them don't know I don't like water and swimming, although I do swim but mostly for safety reasons should I fall in when crossing rivers and streams. I do like to canoe.

Give us a brief summary of  The Chase :  
The Chase is a women in jeopardy survival story with one woman putting the others in danger because of her inability to keep climbing.  How far will the women go when their survival becomes a moral dilemma for them and how will they be changed if they survive their actions?

Buy Links: 

My interests and background play a part in the stories I write.  I like outdoor activities, and I like to go off trail when I'm hiking or cross-country skiing.  I do snowshoe, but am not fond of the activity. After I've climbed all day, I want a downhill run on skis.  I'm also a graduate of the Boulder Mountaineering School and I spent five years as a Nordic volunteer. 

Because I grew up on a ranch in Wyoming, I like western history and the history of Wyoming.  I'm always learning something new.  While writing my latest book, Day of Reckoning that comes out in March, I learned Fort Sanders was only about ten miles from my parents' ranch and that I was close to the Overland Trail. Growing up I never heard of Fort Sanders.
Today, I live on a farm not far south of the Wyoming border, so I can spend time exploring the state.

Social Media Links:  Facebook | Website

Monday, May 11, 2015

Screenwriter Robert Gosnell on The Word - It's Awesome

The Word - It's Awesome

Thus far, my posts have been focused on the nuts-and-bolts of building a story, specifically as relates to screenwriting. That is generally followed by an excerpt from my book (shameless plug to follow) titled "The Blue Collar Screenwriter and The Elements of Screenplay."

I won't be doing that, today. Instead, I'm going to narrow the subject of writing down to its minutia: the word.

I've always been enamored by words, even before I realized I would be utilizing them as tools in my chosen career. The phrases and descriptions; the pictures we craft and emotions we stir with them hold unimaginable power. The way words are used, specific to personalities and geographic influences, their inflections and subtleties have always fascinated me. Add to that the fact that they are malleable; ever changing in usage and meaning.

The adjective "awesome" was used facetiously in the title of this blog, only to demonstrate how certain words are hijacked to represent a contemporary social idiom. "Awesome" came into popular slang during the eighties, and is loosely attributed to the valley girls and surfer dudes of the San Fernando Valley in California. It spread throughout the country, aided greatly by Hollywood, where they have a penchant for exploitation, and it's persistent. It won't go away.

Nowadays, it seems like an awfully lot of things that weren't, previously are now "awesome." At times, I fear we've gone too far.

The Grand Canyon is awesome. "World of Warcraft" isn't.
The pyramids are awesome. Taylor Swift isn't.
The first moon landing was awesome. Kim Kardashians booty is oddly fascinating, at best.

"Awesome" is only one of many hijacked words given new meanings which have entered and eventually departed our vocabulary, over the years. Take the word "cool."  Now, this one has been with us since long before "awesome" came into vogue, probably traceable back to the forties, as part of the language of jazz musicians and ultimately inherited by the "beat" generation of the fifties. Like "awesome," it seeped into our collective vocabulary, until now, it wears like an old shoe.

But, what about "hip," (either you were or you weren't) or "dig" (either you did or you didn't?) We rejected those terms outright. And calling someone "Daddy" now takes on an whole new, and rather creepy connotation.

In the fifties, around the time rock-and-roll launched its initial assault on our national conscious, we were taught that having a "blast" with some cool "cats" in our "pad" was "way out." That sounds silly, now, especially since everyone knows a "pad" is actually a "crib." 

The sixties gave us new meanings to a lot of words. These days, I often hear news anchors freely use the word "bummer." Can you imagine Walter Cronkite telling us how the Cold War was a real bummer? Yet, I haven't met a "teenie-bopper" in decades, though I'm not opposed to it, and thankfully, "far out" didn't survive the cut, either.

Personally, I think it's time for "awesome" to fade into oblivion. It's so overused that it has lost its impact. Along with "excellent," it peaked with Wayne and Garth, and its time to put it into retirement.

But, even if it stays with us, and even if its overuse is a source of irritation to me, I can't fault the status quo. For writers, manipulating words is our bread-and-butter. It would be utterly boring if everyone communicated like grammatically correct robots, programmed for tedious uniformity. It would make for a dull world, and dull is something writers cannot afford.

No, the ever-evolving play on words is a good thing, for us. The fluctuating use of language and terminology aids us in defining personalities and adding color to the worlds we create. It provides us with more ammunition for our arsenal.

All in all, that's pretty awesome.

Robert's book, "The Blue Collar Screenwriter and The Elements of Screenplay" is currently available at:
Amazon digital and paperback
Barnes & Noble

Find Robert at:
Website (with information on classes)

A  professional screenwriter for more than thirty years,  Robert Gosnell has produced credits in feature films, network television, syndicated television, basic cable and pay cable, and is a member of the Writers Guild of America, West and the Writers Guild of Canada.

Robert began his career writing situation comedy as a staff writer for the ABC series Baby Makes Five.  As a freelance writer, he wrote episodes for Too Close for Comfort and the TBS comedies Safe at Home andRocky Road.  In cable, he has scripted numerous projects for the Disney Channel, including Just Perfect, a Disney Channel movie featuring  Jennie Garth. In 1998, he wrote the  Showtime original movie, Escape from Wildcat Canyon, which starred Dennis Weaver and won the national "Parents Choice Award." Robert's feature credits include the Chuck Norris/Louis Gosset Jr. film Firewalker, an uncredited rewrite on the motion picture Number One With A Bullet  starring Robert Carradine and Billy Dee Williams, and the sale of his original screenplay Kick And Kick Back to Cannon Films. Robert was also selected as a judge for the 1990 Cable Ace awards, in the Comedy Special category.

In 1990, Robert left Hollywood for Denver, where he became active in  the local independent film community. His screenplay Tiger Street was produced by the Pagoda Group of Denver, and premiered on Showtime Extreme in August of 2003. In 1999, Denver’s Inferno Films produced the action film Dragon and the Hawk  from his script. In 2001, Robert co-wrote the screenplay for the  independent feature Siren for Las Vegas company Stage Left Productions. His feature script Juncture was produced by Front Range Films in March of 2006. 

Robert  is a principal member of the Denver production company "Conspiracy Films." He is frequently an invited speaker for local writers organizations,  served on the faculty of the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Conference in 2002, and in 2007 was chosen to participate as a panelist for the Aspen Film Festival Short Screenplay Contest. Robert  regularly presents his screenwriting class "The Elements of Screenplay," along with advanced classes and workshops, in the Denver area.